Browsing articles from "October, 2015"

Seagrass Dive 2 31-08-2015

After checking the weather and tides, and the fact we were still going to be diving on lows we decided to go back to the same beach for the last dive of the weekend for another scan over the area for Seagrass (I think Elli was humouring me). The North coast was out anyway and we had to get the kit back to Seaways in Falmouth, and then to the Train Station in St Austell after lunch so Elli could go back to the hum-drum of London life. We were glad we did by the end of the dive, but my second biggest lesson was learnt for diving and equipment today, apologies for the long post.

Seagrass

We kitted up and headed down the beach, again Elli was towing the DSMB as I had my camera, after we had descended Elli was having difficulty with the reel, it had become caught, so we surfaced and untangled the line from around the reel as the vis wasn’t great that close to the shore. Then we prepared to descend again, and as I always do I went to hold my camera, even though we were only descending in about 2-2.5m, it was then I noticed my camera had become un-clipped and I only had the £16 extendable clip attached to my BCD that most dive shops sell hanging there. As this was my 40th birthday present a couple of years ago you can imagine my reaction, and Elli and I started scanning the bottom and surface for my camera, after a 10 minute look and no joy I walked back up the beach defeated and gutted, it was then that I looked at the clip, it wasn’t bent or broken and must have got caught, un-clipping itself from the housing.

camera_housing_extendable_clip_01

camera_housing_extendable_clip_02

camera_housing_extendable_clip_03

As you can see from the photos there is nothing visibly wrong with the cable or clip, it even feels OK for the tension in the safety part of the clip, so this is just down to bad luck with it getting caught and un-clipped somehow, with the weight of the wet lens I had a feeling it would sink but wasn’t totally sure. I turned around and realised where I now stood  at the head of the beach was the same spot I started at a little earlier, grabbed my mask and fins and headed back down the beach along the same path we had taken, as I got out to roughly where we were when we dropped down, I looked down and saw it sat on the bottom, relieved doesn’t describe it and after shouting to Elli I had found it as she had waited patiently for me to get back in the water to look, I dropped down to pick it up, as I was coming back up I saw there was no water in the housing after its short drop and gentle rolling in the swell, am so glad we were on a shore dive.

Some may take from this to check their clips, and I would agree (rinse them properly, and vaseline them if needed, check them for damage or any looseness in the safety features of the clips), but more importantly I would say to check your reel, I am only a novice diver but if that had happened at depth Elli would have been dragged to the surface and I am mortified it got tangled so easily, and yes mortified that the clip came undone, nearly losing my camera. I’m still learning every dive but when I see other divers, the kit we use, such as reels, seem to be used for all depths (as is mine), but while it is extra cost, I think a reel for shallower dives is needed for me; around the coast of Cornwall the shore dives are generally around 8-15m and I am only qualified to 30m anyway, so I am going to be setting up reels for 15m and 30m (or just over), and keeping the one I have now set up as is (which is 50m). This just makes sense to me, not for the dive, but after when it comes to unreeling the line to rinse and dry it properly, stopping salt from building up in the line causing it to stick together, and then get tangled as happened to mine. I have also looked more closely at what I have around the D-ring on my BCD, as well as where the camera hangs when I am upright in the water and moved/removed, and secured more suitably anything that may cause it to become un-clipped again (I hope).

So back to the dive, after a few minutes sorting things out, we decided to carry on with the hunt for Seagrass, I had my hand stuck to my camera and it was back on the clip, Elli signaled she was good to go, and off we went dropping down into about 2 1/2m onto the sandy floor. After heading straight out from the beach for about a minute, Elli was waving at me and pointing down excitedly as us divers do, I went over with my best Starsky and Hutch head on to investigate as all I could see was organic debris floating by.

Pipe Fish

I’m not sure if this was a Lesser Pipefish (Syngnathus rostellatus)  because of the fan tail it had, or the same kind of fish as the 15 Spined Stickleback (Spinachia Spinachia) with the weird luminescent nest I had seen at Newquay before but it was a cool little critter, and a sign of things to come.

Pipe Fish

There was a lot of Hermit Crabs running around again but with over 15 species around the UK, I won’t be trying to identify them just yet.

Hermit Crab

We went straight out from the beach for about 25 minutes, the gentle current chasing the low carried us out and we only needed to kick  occasionally. Some people say going out over the sandy bays is boring as you don’t see much, the safe reefs to dive have a variety of life, but there is a large coastline around the South West (of the UK) and exploring it is half the fun of diving, even if you don’t see a lot as each dive is different.

Sandy seascape

On the way out we saw a few crabs which had picked up the scent of a dead Razor Shell and were heading toward it.

Slipper Crab

crab_07

Razor shell

It was fairly large as well, would have been great to wait and take some pics of them feeding but time (and air) was getting on and after a near canceled dive, it was getting really interesting.

Sea Urchin

Elli found a dead Sea Urchin shell, it was in perfect condition so she put it in her pocket, as you do. Then as we were turning around we saw another crab mating (am pretty sure that is the male on the back) buried in the sand.

Crabs

As we were heading back the battery light started flashing on my camera and then it switched off, after about 10 minutes, and lots more crabs, a flounder (the fish that got away) all not getting photographed, I tried to turn it on again as I saw Elli point at a rather large Crab and then she looked up and I saw her eyes light up, she raised her arm and pointed and as I looked to my right I suddenly saw what had caught her eye (as I had been staring at the camera, praying it would turn on for the Crab), a Barrel Jellyfish (Rhizostoma Pulmo) right in front of us.

Barrel Jellyfish

Barrel Jellyfish

Then the camera battery died again and I had just noticed a Cuttlefish stalking the Crab, I tried to slowly grab Elli to stop her moving toward it but was too late, it was gone and the cheap UK based ebay battery had drained. Elli grabbed my arm and frantically pointed again, so I crossed my fingers and pressed the on button, I looked across and managed to capture this shot of the snail Elli was pointing at before the camera turned straight off again, I didn’t try turning it back on and we headed back the last 10m or so to the beach.

Sea snail

When we were sorting the kit out at the car after, Elli pulled the Sea Urchin shell (dead, or empty in case you had forgotten) out of her BCD pocket, it hadn’t survived the short journey and had been crushed, was gutted for Elli as would have made a great memento. It was one of those really nice dives, even after a horrible start to it, and like last year it was a pleasure to dive with Elli, but please don’t go sticking your head down holes in warmer countries.

Elli met Lenny over the weekend and like everyone, fell in love with him, I had to stop her sneaking him out in her bag when we left for the train station, maybe next time.

Elli and Lenny